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Dry white wine

When a recipe calls for dry white wine, what do you normally use?

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  1. I live near the Finger lakes region of NY, which produces some nice white table wines- that is what I normally use. Or a Chablis would do. I will use chardonnay in a pinch.

    1. Most often dry vermouth, Noilly Pratt to be exact. That is what Juila used and my mom.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        Yes, always have NP (and only NP) dry vermouth on hand; it keeps better after being opened.

        1. re: Candy

          I do the NP vermouth thing too, and I think things taste just as good as they would with something fancier.

        2. Whatever you will drink with the meal is a great answer. I usually have a cheap white avalable if nothing else. Currently that is a closeout Yellowtail Reserve chardonnay. I would avoid an overoaked california chardonnay. Also, never buy cooking wine, they are usually worthless, too sweet. Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Chenin Blanc and dry champagne would all work fine. Riesling and Sauternes would generally be too sweet. Most of the American jug white wines are not worth drinking but might suffice if not too sweet. Sometimes I have a couple bottles of wine that are starting to madeirize, go bad, that I will reserve and use when cooking, that seems ok also. Doug

          1. For something like linguini in clam sauce, a decent Pinot Grigio; otherwise, I agree with dijon.

            1. I always use whatever I enjoy to drink, so that would be a sauvignon blanc, once in a great while a chardonnay.

              1. Like Candy, I too use dry vermouth.

                I am a big wino, and actual wine doesn't last long enough for me to have an extra bit to use in cooking.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Olivia

                  I usually buy those 4 packs of mini bottles for cooking; they have .75 cup which is a typical amount needed-- I usually buy the Pinot Grigio (not much choice in this type of wine!)

                  1. re: DGresh

                    That's smart. If I'm not having guests, when I cook with white wine I usually end up throwing some out. Where do you get those?

                    1. re: SuzMiCo

                      all the liquor stores around me sell them (I'm in NY)

                      1. re: SuzMiCo

                        World Market has stuff like that a lot of times. They also have half sized bottles of some wines.

                      2. re: DGresh

                        I buy them too and in my neck of the woods we have a pretty good selection. I keep on hand some Cab and Chardonnay which are great if I don't need much and don't want to open a bottle.

                        1. re: tunapet

                          I bought a 4-pk of Stone Cellars (Beringer) Pinot Grigio for soup-making, and the two pots I've made so far have turned out ridiculously sweet. I want to utilize the 4-pk principle for cooking, but I clearly need help choosing a DRY white wine--which ones (specifically) do you use?

                        2. re: DGresh

                          Hi - I'm a newbie and a late commer to this topic - I live in MI and can purchase the 4-pk of various wines at some Kroger stores. It is the only place I've ever seen them. I wish more places would carry them. I waste so much wine when I buy a bottle just for cooking purposes.

                          I don't kow much about wine - Does anyone have a link to a good website that lists types of wines (dry, sweet, etc)?

                      3. DH and I don't like to drink white wine, so I usually have a bottle of "Two Buck Chuck" Chardonnay on hand for when a recipe calls for it!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Anne

                          In all sincerity, good for you! $2 Buck Chuck is a decent choice for those who don't want "cooking wine" or aren't wine drinkers.

                          1. re: JackDunkin

                            It is indeed but go for the Sauvignon blanc instaed- the Chardonnay can be oaky.

                          2. re: Anne

                            I use Oak Leaf Chardonnay from Wall Mart.
                            We call it $3 Buck Chuck, an obvious ripoff from the west coast.

                          3. It sort of depends on what I'm doing and what the wine tastes like. I remember poaching some red snapper once and I got a real nice, fairly strongly-flavored chardonnay for that. But I'm going to poach some tilapia this week, and figured chardonnay would be overpowering, so I got a pinot grigio in the hope it would be a little lighter. (Hope so, anyway; I don't know a ton about wine but the last pinot grigio I tried was mild and fruity without being too heavy and strong.)

                            1. The basic rule is cook with something you will drink. That being said, don't make it the expensive stuff (save that for the glass!), but no swill either. Sauv Blanc and Pinot Gris/Grigio will have a higher level of acidity than, say a Chenin Blanc. Chardonnay's can vary depending on region and vintage. Viognier is wonderful in delicate seafood dishes, though not as 'dry' as the others. I find Vermouth to be an odd addition since it derives its flavours from the addition of herbs and other additives (though I never say no to a wave over my martini!).

                              1. Do you have a beverages & more where you live? When I need a good dry white, I buy Trimbach pinot blanc. Whatever is left is delicious to drink.

                                1. Ultimately it depends, if I'm going to drink the remainder of the bottle with the meal then chablis, chardonnay, pouille fume or fuisse. If not then a smaller quantity of noilly pratt which I find tastes fruitier hence the reduced amount - although in my risotto...

                                  1. Big House White from Bonney Doon. A surprisingly tasty wine to cook with for the price.

                                    1. If a recipe calls for a cup or less, I use NP vermouth. If the wine component is the main flavoring agent, however, I'll use a much more expensive wine: Pinot Gris, unoaked Chard, etc.

                                      1. I usually use Pinot Grigio or a $2 Chuck Chardonnay. If you have any extra, freeze them in ice cube trays for future use.

                                        20 Replies
                                        1. re: OCAnn

                                          I'm sorry, but that $2 stuff tastes like weasel piss. Excuse my French, but it's very, very bad.

                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            LOL. I can always rely on you to use polite, exquisite language. I buy my wine from either Costco or the local well stocked liquor store w/an owner who holds tastings. But for Mr OCAnn and others new to cooking, $2 Chuck works well. I wouldn't go so far to call it piss, but it certainly fills a niche.

                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                              I have to agree. $2 Buck Chuck isn't fit for cooking or drinking. I guess one should drink what they like, but I have a hard time with this one when there are so many better wines under $10.

                                              1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                                I bet you couldn't tell a Grgich Hills chardonnay from $2 Buck Chuck chardonnay in a cooked meal.

                                                1. re: JackDunkin

                                                  Speculation aside, I wouldn't cook with a wine that I wouldn't drink.

                                                  1. re: JackDunkin

                                                    If you're talking 1/4 cup, maybe not. If you're talking 2 cups or more, you're wrong.

                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                      You're wrong. I used a whole bottle in making a large batch of stew ...and had four different empty bottles on the counter. No one guessed it was the $2 Buck Chuck.

                                                      If the $2 Buck Chuck were priced at $10, a lot more people would say or admit that it's their default table wine.

                                                      1. re: JackDunkin

                                                        Hey Jack, if it works for you then fine. But a lot of people don't care for the stuff either in a glass or in a dish. I find that the off-notes in 2BC are much more pronounced when reduced.

                                                        1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                                          here's the thing about $2 buck.. it varies, hence the cheap price. 1 batch will be from a particular processing plant ( yes not small batch wineries, but neither is anything else mentioned here) and athe next batch from somewhere else. I've had relatively great bottles, and I've had chemical swill...

                                                        2. re: JackDunkin

                                                          Well, if it tastes good to you, by all means cook with it. I won't be joining you.

                                                            1. re: JackDunkin

                                                              Sorry, I meant to respond to Shane. I'm certainly not suggesting anything salacious in any event.

                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                    Huh? I'm not saying it tastes good. I'm totally saying the opposite. I wouldn't put 2BC in anything. I think Karen has a great point about how it varies. That might explain why it's always such a polarizing topic on CH.

                                                      2. re: pikawicca

                                                        And how would you know how weasel piss tastes?

                                                        1. re: JackDunkin

                                                          Just taste a glass of 2 Buck Chuck and you'll know.

                                                    2. I have had good luck with Shao Xing cooking sherry. Mostly for everyday French country fare, however, NP is too herbacious, doesn't smell right.

                                                      1. Usually dry vermouth, Cinzano,

                                                        Other than that I'd use sauvignon blanc. The oakiness of chardonnay is no good and a pinot grigio is too thin

                                                        1. Whatever's in the house. Usually a Sauvignon Blanc.

                                                          1. Since I am usually drinking a dry white wine, I just put in whatever I have open that night. Unoaked chardonnay works well with most things....

                                                            1. Cakebread Chardonnay...but I order those by the case.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: JackDunkin

                                                                Which one do you buy? I usually avoid cooking with Chardonnay because I don't care for the flavors from malolactic fermentation and oak. I stick to the SVs and lower priced blends for cooking. But I know some Chardonnay makers are creating more of a Burgandy style, which can be great for cooking. Just curious which Cakebread you've had success with.

                                                              2. A recent article in the New York Times supports cooking with the cheap stuff--even if you wouldn't drink it: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/21/din....

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: vicarious

                                                                  My point exactly. Thanks for the link.

                                                                  1. re: vicarious

                                                                    Love that! Clearly the ones above haven't read it. lol!

                                                                    1. I have a bottle of gerwertztraminer lying around. Too sweet of a wine too use for cooking?

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: takadi

                                                                        I believe Patricia Wells has a recipe for cooking mussels with that wine. I wouldn't use it though if a recipe calls for a dry white wine.

                                                                        1. re: takadi

                                                                          Gewurtz can be great in a pork recipe, or anything with an asian flair (fresh ginger, asian spices). One of my favorites is a pork roast braised with Granny Smith apples in Gewurtz. Cheers!

                                                                          1. re: takadi

                                                                            This is an old, old post, but my daughter had a glass of Alexander Valley Gewurtz last night, and it was very good -- quite dry.

                                                                          2. Another vote for dry vermouth. Noilly Pratt if possible. Or I may use a bit of the wine we're going to drink with dinner.

                                                                            1. I use Swedish Hill from the fingerlakes. It is a nice white table wine

                                                                              1. Most of the time, especially when the wine gets reduced to nearly nothing in the prep, I use dry vermouth too. If it is really intrinsic to the dish though (for example chicken in riesling, etc) I use the proper vareital, I just buy an inexpensive California bottling.

                                                                                1. In small quantities, like for deglazing a frying pan, leftover neutral white* or vermouth as often as not. The problem with vermouth is that it's flavoured with herbs and spices, making it unsuitable as a neutral braising or poaching liquid or for boiling down, which concentrates those flavours. In such cases, an inexpensive, neutral dry white, with "neutral" meaning unoaked and not made from an aromatic grape variety like Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Viognier, Muscat or Sauvignon Blanc. For example, a white Côtes du Rhône, any number of Spanish or Italian whites, cheap Chardonnay from France or Eastern Europe, or locally produced whites made from Seyval. The exception is, of course, dishes that are built around an aromatic white: chicken braised in Riesling or Vin Jaune, etc.

                                                                                  *If you occasionally have wine leftover, freeze it until you need it for cooking. Works fine for white, red or rosé. I often keep a screwtop bottle in the freezer and just pour in the tail end of whatever bottle I opened the night or week before.

                                                                                  1. A Loire valley muscadet rarely costs you more than $10-12 and is the very essence of what is meant by a dry white wine. Otherwise, I agree with the vermouth-ers.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: hassenpfeffer

                                                                                      Great idea! I also favor a Picpoul de Pinet, a dry white blend from the south of France. Dry, crisp, refreshing -- and usually around $7 - 10 a bottle. Some great, inexpensive dry whites come from Spain, too.

                                                                                    2. I use DRY white wine. I learned the hard way that the surest way to wreck a dish is to sub sweet for dry. Obvious, perhaps, but as a rookie cook I was too obtuse to realise it.

                                                                                      1. That really depends on the recipe. If it is Alfredo sauce - Pinot Gregio, fish stock-Chardonnay, vermouth is a great stand in for small amounts and bitters will awaken salad dressing like no other. For my non-drinking friends I sub mustard or savory other herbs can really add pop - buy you need to experiment based on your taste.

                                                                                        1. Dry vermouth. I have been very, very, VERY happy using it.

                                                                                          We don't drink white wine. And many wines I have tried in cooking give a bit of an off aftertaste unless they are super dry. I have never had this problem with vermouth.

                                                                                            1. Depends. Usually whatever is open, which tends to be a fairly brisk and acidic pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. But if it's a German or Alsatian dish - as in choucroute garni - I'll go with a riesling or even that Austrian bubbly I get from Trader Joe's. I did that on a whim one year and was mighty pleased at how it came out.

                                                                                              Pace Julia, but the only time I use vermouth like that is in a fish dish or to make her pommes de terre à la huile, where you sprinkle some over the hot potato slices along with the chopped scallions. Too herb-y for most things, I think.